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Right Intention: VDH Explains Bush Policy

Friday, March 25, 2005

VDH Explains Bush Policy

In a recent article, Victor Davis Hanson explained why democracy is the new realist foreign policy. But first, he takes a shot at those who oppose spreading democracy:

The foreign policy Realists want nothing to do with George Bush's idealism. They rely exclusively on deterrence and balance of power to adjudicate relations abroad: We must deal with the world as it is, they say, rather than as we think it should be. Isolationists likewise bristle at the idea of expending blood or treasure in an open-ended commitment to spread our values. And don't expect liberals to applaud the new idealism, as if their 1960s vision of an ethical foreign policy has at last arrived. The Left's attachment to "multiculturalism" long ago ended the idea that the U.S. had any right to place Western ideas of politics over indigenous practices. Other "progressives" are de facto pacifists; for them, any use of U.S. force is a betrayal of global diplomacy.

So true. This is why few trust the left on foreign policy matters. They just aren't serious.

But here he explains what is obvious to pretty much everyone who isn't a liberal:

And while promoting democracy is idealistic, it does not necessarily follow that it is naive. What, after all, prevents wars? Hardly the U.N.; and not just aircraft carriers either. The last half-century of peace in Europe and Japan, and the end of our old enmity of Russia, attest that the widest spread of democratic rule is the best guarantee against international aggression. Ballots substitute for bullets in venting internal frustrations.

And in today's Middle East, our new insistence on democracy is not our first but rather our last resort. We have already tried averting our eyes, subsidies, passive-aggressive lectures, outright hostility, everything but principled and consistent promotion of constitutional government. Despite varying degrees of American appeasement, monarchy, Baathism, Nasserism, pan-Arabism, and Islamic fundamentalism have all turned out to have intolerable spillover effects on the U.S. In contrast, the Muslims of democratic Indonesia, India, and Turkey do not threaten us.

Far from being impractical, naive, or dangerous, explaining to the world that America will from now on always encourage democratic rule is sober and in our own vital interest. With patience and persistence, it will turn out to be both the right and the smart thing to do.


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